So another new year has arrived. I don’t know about you, but so far, 2019 has been a bit of a bust.
First of all, we’d all wanted to watch the New Year’s Eve countdown and fireworks at Marina Bay. But then at about 5pm, the dark clouds that had been gathering on the horizon all afternoon finally opened and it started to rain hard.
Half an hour later, it was still pouring, with thunder and lightning.
From the dry comfort of her bed, Saffy peered up at the sky through her wet windows. “Seriously!” she called out to Amanda in the other room. “I’m not sure I want to look at fireworks in this weather! Can you imagine how difficult it will be to get home?”
From the dry comfort of her bed, Amanda cocked her head towards her window and pursed her lips. “Yes, but surely it’s not going to rain like this all the way to midnight?”
“The grass and everything will be wet and soggy!” Saffy said.
You could tell she’d already made up her mind that she’d be welcoming in 2019 with a bottle of cheap white wine, a big bowl of popcorn, a side of pizza, and Bird Box on Netflix.
Amanda got out of bed and padded out of her bedroom, down the corridor and into Saffy’s room.
“You’d really rather stay home and watch Bird Box?” she asked, leaning against the door frame.
“It’s supposed to be really scary!”
Amanda arched an eyebrow. “Scary like Hereditary?”
Saffy’s bosom puffed up. “I have no idea. I was too chicken to watch that. But Sharyn said Sandra Bullock is really good in this one and you know how I’ve always had a thing for that gal!”
Which was how we ended up staying in on New Year’s Eve. We ordered in pizza. Bottles of cheap booze were opened, and corn was popped.
Meanwhile, Sharyn and her family had made the trek down to Marina Bay, armed with umbrellas, plastic ponchos and slippers. At 11.05 pm, she rang to say that the rain had stopped and that the fireworks had started.
“Wah, very pretty!” she shouted over the bangs and pops. “Come lah! The rain has stopped! You still got time! They got one hour of firework before midni…! Wah! Wah! So pretty!”
Saffy put her phone to her chest and looked at us. “Sharyn says the fireworks are amazing and that we should go!”
Amanda, currently slouched on the sofa with her finger poised over the play button of the TV remote, swivelled her eyes from the screen. “I really cannot be bothered. It’s going to take me at least 15 minutes to put my make-up on, another five to get changed and then we still have to get to Raffles Place and find Sharyn!”
Through a mouthful of popcorn, I said I was with Amanda on this one.
Of course, while we watched a blindfolded Sandra Bullock be terrorised on Netflix, Sharyn was watching what she later described as the most amazing fireworks she’d ever seen in her life. “Even better than my wedding night!” she giggled the next morning at brunch at Tiong Bahru market.
Saffy, her eyes bloodshot from not having slept at all because she would come awake everything she heard the trees rustling outside her window, winced.
Sharyn dug her elbow into Saffy’s ribs. “Ay, you know what I mean by fireworks on my wedding night, right?” The woman giggled again.
“The image of you losing your virginity might be just the image I need to erase last night’s horror!” Saffy moaned.
Amanda shook her head. “When those people’s eyes changed colour and shape…I’ve never seen anything so horrific in my life!”
“And how they all died!” Saffy said, burying her face in her hands.
Sharyn frowned. “Aiyoh, this is New Year and you all or-redi talk about people dying! Choy!”
“It really was a stupid movie, though,” Amanda said. “Scary, but stupid!”
“I’ve closed all the curtains in my room!” Saffy told her.
Amanda shook her head. “Honestly, what a start to the year! We should have gone to see the fireworks. Instead, we’re now scared of the wind and leaves!”
Saffy sucked in her breath. “Oh my God! When those leaves just rose from the ground and those voices started whispering…”
Meanwhile, Sharyn is still so moved by the fireworks. “Good use of my taxpayer money!” she pronounced. “This year, confirm vote PAP!”
Amanda was astonished. “That’s how you decide how you vote in elections? By the quality of the fireworks?”
“Ay, this year very good, you know!”
But Amanda had stopped paying attention because Saffy had just messaged her to say that the first episode of Dr Pimple Popper’s season 2 had just dropped on YouTube.
“Finally,” she sighed, as she tapped her screen. “The year is starting to look promising. Oh gosh, will you look at all those lipomas!’
Photo: Netflix/Saeed Adyani